Romans 12:1 says, “Take your everyday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.” Romans 12:1 (MSG) Today, let’s look at how we can honor God when we are eating.
In Jesus’ day, the main meals of the day were at noon and in the evening. This custom can be traced back to Exodus 16:12, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.” Pay attention to that last phrase. Food can be a source of knowing and understanding God. I bet you didn’t think that came with your bowl of Fruit Loops, did ya?
Food is a gift from God. Jesus told his followers to pray for their daily bread. To the writers of scripture, food is the concrete evidence that God is present and providing. God brings forth food from the earth and bread to strengthen the human heart. We actually commanded to take pleasure in food. Eat your bread with joy says Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Apparently, he was not any low-carb diet when he wrote that scripture.
Let’s look at four ways you can experience Jesus as you eat daily.
First, you can express gratitude for God’s provision. Food is not a given in the Bible, it is a gift from the very hand of God. Psalm 104:14 says, “He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth.” Give thanks for the food God has given you.
Second, take pleasure in your food. We have a hard time with this command, don’t we? Think about it, God has provided a rich variety of food for you to enjoy! Jesus first miracle was turning water into wine, and it was the best wine of the evening. Everyone enjoyed it! Even all the different spices and seasoning we put on our food are small signs of God’s creativity and care for us. “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.” Ecclesiastes 9:7 (NIV)
Third, Let food remind you how God is a God of order. Food marks the proper limits in life. Consider the seasons, which regulate the growth of food. We have the summer growing season and the winter for rest. We can eat too much or too little. These traits of food teach us about God’s order for the world.
Finally, remember man does not live by bread alone. Isaiah says, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” In this passage Isaiah is talking about feeding your soul and not your belly. Jesus said it this way, “Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.” (Luke 12:23)
Not only does Jesus talk about spiritual food, but we must also realize he is our spiritual food. Listen to what Jesus said of himself, “I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
“Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”
Of course this spiritual food is symbolized in communion. “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28
As we participate in communion we become part of Jesus death and Resurrection. Paul writes to the church in Corinth, “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
And then, for those in Christ, we can look forward to the day we will eat with God and Jesus in heaven, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)”
May we be like Jeremiah when it comes t our spiritual food, ““When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16-17